Wednesday December 12 9:41 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Reviews

Gripping Drama in "Private Peaceful" - Review by Carol Moore

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**** Highly Recommended **** Leaving the Greenhouse Theater after seeing “Private Peaceful”, I had mixed feelings. On the one hand, I thought it was one of the most powerful performances I’ve seen in a very long time. On the other hand, it left me with feelings of disgust and dismay over man’s inhumanity to man. “Private Peaceful” is both heartwarming and gut-wrenching and an indictment against war. 4 Spotlights

"Seigfried" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** Simply stated, Lyric's "Siegfried" is a smashing success. Conceptually, this is one of the finest and entirely cohesive productions to hit the Lyric stage in many seasons, and one in which all of its creative team, director David Pountney, conductor Sir Andrew Davis, the Lyric Orchestra and all of the performers are at the top of their game. It is a work that contains epic emotions regarding loneliness, loyalty to family, identity, acceptance of one's receding power, lack of trepidation and even some profound moral honesty, with a deep appreciation for the natural world. It is also one heck of a thrilling adventurous tale filled with abundant humor, which is one thing many people may not realize when they think of Richard Wagner and his Ring Cycle, of which "Siegfried" is the third installment in the tetralogy. 4 BIG SPOTLIGHTS

"Idomeneo" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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***RECOMMENDED*** Sometimes great artistry can elevate even the most sedate or mundane work. Such is the case with the current production of "Idomeneo" at Lyric Opera. First presented in 1781 when its composer was only 25-year old, Mozart's first foray into opera seria has been plagued by criticism, revisions and alterations ever since. The work is rarely performed anymore and this is just the third time it has been seen on Lyric's stage. Many people cite the fact that it is too difficult to produce based on its scale -- but really, what opera in the current repertoire isn't? What could be labeled as Mozart's Greek tragedy has the possibility, in the wrong hands, to feel tedious. Thankfully, Lyric has assembled a terrific cast to bring this formidable tale to life. 3 SPOTLIGHTS

Don't miss Theater Unspeakable's Unique Take on "The American Revolution"

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**** Recommended **** “The American Revolution” by Theater Unspeakable is one of the most interesting, creative, and innovative shows I’ve ever seen. I saw when it premiered, loved it then, love it now. This tongue-in-cheek history lesson in just 50 minutes will definitely tickle your funny bone. By the way, all the history of “The American Revolution” is there, just presented in a different way, fascinating at all age levels. 3 ½ Spotlights

"It's Only A Play" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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***RECOMMENDED*** Terrence McNally’s delightful comedy “It’s Only a Play” may not contain some grand message about loving your fellow man or a deep evaluation to the meaning of life but it sure does have a ton of good and hearty laughs. Written in 1986 and enjoying a slight success Off-Broadway at that time, McNally revised and updated the script for a star-studded version that hit Broadway in 2014. The current production at Pride Films and Plays, under the skilled direction of Jon Martinez, seems to have been revamped even more recently, as it contains hilarious references to both “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” and “Mean Girls,” two big Broadway shows that didn’t even open until April of this past year. 3 SPOTLIGHTS

Remy Bumppo's "Frankenstein" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** What is the function of remorse? Does gender determine intelligence? If you should falter in your quest for scientific innovation will you be haunted by perpetual failure ad infinitum? These -- and many more challenging questions – are posed in Remy Bumppo’s current production of “Frankenstein.” In Nick Dear’s crystalline adaptation of Mary Shelley’s novel (celebrating its 200th anniversary this year) and under Ian Frank’s brilliant direction, this “Frankenstein” not only proves Shelley’s genius but also elevates the narrative for those who may have a fading collective awareness of the work based on the popular Frankenstein films of the 1930’s. 4 SPOTLIGHTS

A Sexy, Suggestive, Fosse-esque "Pippin" at Mercury Theater's Venus Cabaret

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**** Recommended **** How do you fit “Pippin” into the intimate (actually tiny) space at Mercury Theater’s Venus Cabaret? Obviously one would need to find a small group of incredibly talented people and figure out how to fit them – and an audience – into the space. Director Walter Stearns utilizes every inch of space, including the surface of the bar, to create an immersive experience for the audience. His “Pippin” is Fosse-esque, right down to the white gloves, (totally appropriate since Fosse choreographed the original), sexy and suggestive, kind of cross between “Chicago” and “Cabaret” with a pinch of “Sweet Charity”. 4 Spotlights

“Waistwatchers: The Musical” is a Laughing Good Time

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*** Recommended *** “Waistwatchers: The Musical” is a falling-off-your-chair-laughing good time, especially for the women in the audience. Ladies, take your BFF, your gal pals, your posse, your book club, even your bachelorette party, together for a girls’ night out at the Royal George Cabaret. After you get your drinks, sit back and. get ready to laugh. Seriously ladies, while the men in the audience might chuckle, the women will howl. 3 Spotlights